Sergio Garcia wrote a new chapter in his ongoing war of words with Tiger Woods this week by going back to the future. When asked if he and Woods would get together at the U.S. Open, Garcia responded, “We’ll have him ’round every night. We’ll serve fried chicken.”
Congratulations, Sergio. You just won the Fuzzy Zoeller Award for being a first-class heel.
Garcia has since apologized (twice) and Woods has remained is usual, aloof self. He did tweet a message around this latest round of nonsense:
“I’m confident that there is real regret that the remark was made. “The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it’s long past time to move on and talk about golf.”
I’m sure Tiger was pissed about it. I’m sure Sergio feels like an idiot for it. Should one remark destroy an entire career? I don’t think so. But it does make me wonder what on earth possesses anyone to make racially-charged statements—even in jest?
What’s worse, however, is the reaction of people on the Intarnets. Message boards and Facebook threads lit up with predictably tone-deaf responses to Garcia’s remarks. “What’s the big deal?” “It was a joke.” “I thought it was funny.” Naturally, it’s mostly white responders who don’t understand why it’s offensive. I say that not because I’m lumping all white people in one pile. Rather, pointing out the obvious: white people, like myself, never have to spend any time being conscious of our own race when we’re driving at night, walking down the street or walking into a store.
The fact that one of the richest, most popular athletes in the world still has to deflect racist statements shows just how far we have to go to stamp out racism. And the sad reality that some white people refuse to understand the damage it does tells me there are people we will simply never reach.
Is Sergio Garcia a racist? I don’t know. My gut tells me it’s doubtful. People sometimes say and do dumb things and regret it immediately afterward. I take him at his word that he wishes he never said it. It’s worth noting his apology was not because we heard it. It was because he said it. A person who is truly remorseful deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s much hope for the chorus of ignorance on the message boards with regard to race in America. It’s hard to teach a person the ill of his ways when he sees absolutely nothing wrong with Garcia’s statements and goes so far as to somehow blame Woods for it.
As Ron White says, you can’t fix stupid.